On Wednesday night, official results of the Israeli elections for 120 seats in the Israeli Knesset were announced.
According to Israeli law, the president of Israel receives the results of the elections and then bestows the job of prime minister on the party leader that would be most likely to gain the confidence of 61 members of the Knesset.
On Thursday morning, it became clear that Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud Party, had won the confidence of at least 65 members of the new Knesset. This came after Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the Israel Beitenu party, told Israeli President Shimon Peres his party’s 15 seats, won in the elections, would provide Mr. Netanyahu with at least 65 members of the Knesset backing him.
Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud-led government will comprise six diverse political parties.
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Likud won only 27 seats, one seat less than Kadima, which heads the current Israeli government.
Kadima, a young political party, was founded by former Likud leader Ariel Sharon, in November 2005. However, Mr. Sharon fell into a coma in January 2006 and has been hospitalized ever since, existing on life support machines and remaining unconscious.
Mr. Sharon was succeeded by his then-finance minister Ehud Olmert, who was elected with 29 seats in March 2006, after which he joined forces with four other political parties to form a government.
Mr. Olmert announced his resignation on July 31 2008. This came after the Israel State Attorney said enough evidence existed to indict Mr. Olmert for embezzling funds from American philanthropies and for receiving cash payments from an American businessman who sought Mr. Olmert’s help advancing his business interests. Mr. Olmert remains under investigation by the Israeli police fraud squad in 10 other matters of financial improprieties, leaving a legacy of corruption behind him and a crisis of public confidence in the government of Israel.
Jay Bushinsky, KYW’s Middle East correspondent, said “we will have to wait and see Mr. Peres does. He may still try to create a coalition government between Likud and Kadima.”
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org